As BAT and PYO faces off in what is likely to be one titanic clash for the ages, the bottom line for the Yoruba is to avoid what might be a cleverly set trap of mutually assured destruction. Mutual assured destruction (MAD) refers to the concept that two superpowers are capable of annihilating each other with nuclear weapons, regardless of whether they are attacked first. It is therefore critically important that they and their supporters be reminded that the bottomline for Yoruba in Nigeria’s primitive ethnocentric “winner take all” politics is to ensure that one of them ultimately captures the grand price, Aso Rock.

In 2015, for the first time ever in Nigerian politics, the Yoruba formed the core of a winning presidential coalition. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) engineered the coalition and Professor Yemi Osibajo (PYO) for seven years has loyally served as Buhari’s VP with all the baggages that come with being on the same ticket on what many Nigerians would probably vote as one of the worst presidencies in Nigerian history. The saving grace for the APC is that the opposition PDP is so disorganised and has lost its political mojo.

In other political clime, when the incumbent cannot ask the electorates with the expectation of an affirmative “yes” to the question “are you better off now than when we took over”? , the game is over. But Nigeria’s form of politics is an aberration to all conventional political logic.

As Nigerians gear up against all odd to once again place their hope and future in a political system that has a knack for dashing them, it would be the worst form of assault on Nigerian sensibilities if the north fields a another northern candidate. If the Fulani have devised the BAT versus PYO contest as a ploy to pull the political wool over Nigerian eyes to keep the presidency in the north for another 8 years, the game is over for Nigeria. I will be first in line shouting Oodua Nation. We must make it clear to the north that this is Yoruba’s last hand of Fellowship extended to Nigeria. If it is rejected it it will be a kiss of death for the country.

All through the history of this country, the Yorubas have made magnanimous sacrifice and played determinant role in birthing it and salvaging it. Yorubas were in the lead in the struggle for Nigeria’s independence from the bondage of British colonialism. When the country needed a savior when Igbos declared Biafra Republic, it was the same Yoruba who answered the call giving of its treasure, blood and tears to safe the day as the country stared the abyss in the face. While Igbo properties all over the country were conscripted and looted, the Yoruba again showed uncommon magnanimity by preserving most of the abandoned Igbo real estate for their rightful owners. Since the end of the war when Igbo needed a new territory to start over, Yoruba with open arms welcomed them back to her cities and villages where today the Igbo have run ring across the commercial life of most Yoruba cities squeezing out our own people by what some people have described as predatory business practice. In many parts of Yoruba land, our Igbo brothers now run for councillors, state and federal legislative seats, a privilege the Yoruba will never be availed of in the east even if the arctic sea melts over. When the northerners wanted their man Buhari in Aso Rock, the Yoruba obliged by massively voting for him.

If in 2023, all of those goodwill and magnanimity is repaid with a back stab, then it would be time for to your home oh Israel. Yes, you heard me right. Yes, I am a Nigerian patriot who believes that it’s corporate existence is worth preserving even with all the dysfunction and frustration that has come with it. But I am a Yoruba man first before I am a Nigerian.

I have always said that three preconditions must be met before anyone contemplates breaking away from a country. One of the reasons, I have been one of the most vocal opponents of tug current Oodua Nation movement is its failure to meet any of the three preconditions to be highlighted below.

1. Secession and breaking up a country must be the absolute last resort deployed only and only after all political options for unity and reconciliation has been exhausted. The 2023 election provides the Fulani the opportunity to demonstrate that they are not the selfish, insensitive, power-hungry, and power-monopolizing people many have tagged them with. I hope my faith in them has not been misplaced. That yes, they are tough strategic political operatives, but that they are fair-minded political actors who can be relied upon to keep their promise. In 2015, Buhari made a commitment to BAT which he must know redeem. In the 2019 election, the Fulanis for the very first time in the political history of Nigeria fielded for the presidency two of their own in Buhari and Atiku. As a mark of gratitude and fairness to other Nigerian ethnicities they have no business fielding another Fulani man in 2023. To do that is to tell other Nigerians, especially the Yorubas to “go fuck themselves” pardon my French. At that point whatever basis remains for sharing Nigeria with them would have been removed.

3. A secession movement must have the overwhelming support of the entire spectrum of the group seeking to secede, the grassroots, the intellectual, the political and business classes, and the traditional rulers. If the North stabs the Yoruba in the back in 2023, it would unify all of these sectors many who like me have been sitting on the fence hoping that the Fulani will row the path of honor, decency and fairness. You definitely do not want Tinubu leading the charge for secession.

So as the two Yoruba titans step into the presidential ring, they and their supporters must be warned not to play dirty, not to hit below the belt and to fight fair. They must be told that the contest between their two principals, as consequential as it is , it is a match between two home teams seeking to determine which one would be representing the division in the World Cup. Yes, Ghana and Nigeria fought like two hungry lions over a prey as they competed for whom would represent Africa in Quatar, which Ghana won. However there is no question who at the World Cup later this year, both Nigerians and Ghanaian would be rooting for. Of course it is Ghana, the African representative in the group of death. That analogy must advise the forthcoming titanic clash between Tinubu and Osibajo. We Yoruba must fight with our brain intact without inflicting deadly blow against one another that would be fatal and impossible to overcome in the Nigerian World Cup presidential contest in 2023. Like him or hate him, BAT is a political juggernaut whose enmity and opposition any smart politician must avoid like a plague.

The fact that PYO has now entered the ring against his mentor would seem to send the signal that Buhari might have reservations against BAT candidacy for whatever reason. Otherwise, he would have prevailed on PYO to stay out. There is absolutely no doubt that Tinubu as politically Savvy as he is reputed to be, must have extracted some commitment from Buhari before he Tinubu went to battle on his behalf. It would appear that Buhari is now unable or unwilling to deliver on that commitment. It is therefore important that the two Yoruba gladiators thread cautiously so they do not unwillingly walk into a trap or mutually assured destruction. Let the game begin and may the better team who can best represent Yoruba in the grand contest win.

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